It can’t be surprising to anyone with a smart phone (or has been on any form of public transportation) that mobile gaming is on the rise. Developers are scrambling to get the next big hit like Draw Something as the mobile and social game giants, Rovio and Zynga, are continuing to dominate the market.  

According to a new infographic by businessdegree.net, more than $12 billion was generated by mobile gaming in 2011 with 34% of the top grossing apps in the app store using the freemium model. Once someone is hooked, they’ll continue to spend a few dollars to continue to enhance their play. On average freemium games make $12.92 a month per user. 

This type of behavior is what is making this business so profitable. I’ll admit mobile gaming has made my journeys into work a lot less tedious and I don’t blink at paying $1.99 for something to entertain me for a few hours. It’s cheaper than a book and lives in my phone.

Users don’t realize how their small purchase will affect a business. But multiply my single purchase of $1.99 by a million users and it’s easy to see why mobile game development is on the up. Take Tiny Tower for instance. In its first year, it made more than $3 million from in-app purchases alone. 

Marketers are jumping on board by advertising with the big players. Angry birds makes $6 million a month from ads alone.

The next step could be more brands teaming up with game developers to create popular mobile games. Not only could it make a tidy profit, but it will get more eyes on its product. It already happens in the movies, with traditional games, and more recently, web series, so it won’t be long until mobile gaming follows suit.

Note: In the infographic below, the number of hours below should read 4.5 and not 14.5.